My only reason for making these types of images is to entertain myself as I learn what can be done with making B&W images of nothingness.
Is there a particular subject I like to use? Are there particular cameras or lenses that work better? Or is this style almost totally independent of the gear used?
I had a rough start today. Didn’t sleep well and Misty had me up at 4am. I also read on the news that thanks to the incompetent Trump administration that I might not get my vaccinations until late March. The government contracted with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate the senior centers and while we were originally told to expect that to happen in December, Walgreens is now saying they won’t complete their vaccinations until end of March.
Only good news is that I’m back to using my Zen camera after having exercised my Pentax K-3 camera. The K-3 and zoom lens is now back in the drawer.
I have been fond of the Amazon region for a long time. Marcia and I first visited Peru and rafted on a short section of the Urubamba River in 2001. It is a partially navigable feeder river of the Amazon. When we were there the Shining Path was somewhat active and there were armed guards on the streets around our hotel in Lima and at the restaurants we ate in. Our tour director pointed out the head of the Shining Path when he walked down the street in front of the restaurant … same person described by Darcy in her book. He was staring right at me on the other side of the window as he walked by.
In 2003 we traveled into the Amazon jungle region in Ecuador. We spent time traveling the narrow channels within the jungle in a wooden dugout canoe. We were in the area, not terribly far from where Darcy had owned a kayak tour business further upstream along the whitewater region of the river. Our tour was downriver in the flat brown water area. The company we traveled with stopped taking tours there later due to the drug trade, etc.
In 2006 we returned to Peru and cruised on the Amazon River upstream of Iquitos. Hmmm, when I looked into the boat pilots station I noticed a rifle leaning against the wall in the corner. I assumed it was for wildlife. Heat, humidity, bugs and all, it is still a trip that I would like to repeat with a better waterproof camera this time.
Even before traveling in the Amazon region, I liked to read about it, and I still rarely pass up a good book about what others found and did while traveling there. The book Amazon Woman is one of the better ones and if you are interested I encourage you to read it. She kayaked it from source to mouth after we had been on the river, and I was surprised at the state of life along the river, even in the areas we had visited. When she traveled the river in 2013, it was still just as rustic, dangerous, and difficult than when we were there, but then again, we were only in the safer regions.
I had other thoughts as I read this book. Long distance hikes, like along the Appalachian Trail, are very different from her 4000 mile kayak trip down the Amazon. Hikes along the Appalachian Trail are very social where you have many interactions with fellow hikers along the way. Kayaking down the Amazon is a very lonely trip, even with two fellow travelers. Her Amazon trip comes closer to being similar to quarantine for the same length of time. Her loneliness and thoughts are more like some of us have been having as we stayed isolated for the last 10 plus months.
I have decided that the K-3 image quality is fine but the remaining issues are much harder to resolve. The camera is great, I love the way it fits my hand, and I love the weather resistance. What I don’t like is the weight. Nominally the weight is fine but I have problems with my back and in the past carrying a K-3 with this lens has given me trouble. Related to this issue is the lack of a tilt-able LCD. I have problems with bending and getting down low due to my back limitations. Not having a tilt-able LCD increases my back problems.
My solution to the issues related to my back is to not carry the camera too long and not use it down low when it causes me to bend excessively. One technique that I’m considering is to drive around and park the car and then either photograph from the car or from a short distance from it. I can also use the K-3 to make pictures through my window like the one of the sparrow above.
I still have my Fuji X-Pro3 camera and lenses and I plan to keep using them, especially indoors around people. The problem is that the likelihood of being able to do that in the near future is almost nonexistent and that is why I have gone back to also occasionally using a Pentax K-3 camera. It is better suited for using with a longer zoom lens and is more rugged and less expensive; thus I don’t mind tossing it on the seat of a car or getting in the mud with it.
After thinking about the uncertainties, I knew that if I am going to continue with making images that I’m going to have to do something different. I’m going to have to go beyond my Villa to make images while continuing to stay away from people. I need to try harder before I give up.
Options for staying away from people, are to use a longer focal length lens and/or concentrate on environmental photography … the natural environment as well as the man-made environment.
To follow-up on the above ideas I needed to see what I could do and what I might need in the way of camera and lenses; therefore, I took a walk along Plum Creek with an older 2013 camera, bought used and now inexpensive, a Pentax K-3 camera and the 18-135mm Pentax lens. Would the image quality be sufficient? I’m still exploring this idea. These images were made with the Pentax DSLR setup.
If you wish to try this camera, be aware that I use the latest LRc software and that these images started as raw files which I have processed. I have found that I can get a lot more out of the Pentax raw files using the latest image processing software than with what was available back in 2014. The camera jpeg files are not as good.
There are too many uncertainties in my photography starting with, when will I be comfortable circulating and photographing among people. How long will it take to get vaccinated and how long will it take to reduce the levels of covid to where I will be comfortable going out?
Other uncertainties are how far can I go and how long can I photograph without inducing too much back pain?
How are people going to feel about having their pictures made and published on the internet? This issue was getting worse around the world even before the pandemic. Will the outgrowth of the pandemic worsen or lessen those concerns?
Will I want to continue using a single lens and camera to just photograph a few things up close, things that I can reach quickly? If so, I might not need a longer focal length zoom lens on any camera.
Is it worth continuing to pursue photography as a hobby? If I’m not traveling or photographing new things, people, etc., photography really isn’t a good hobby since it is limiting in being able do anything different with my camera, etc.
And the final uncertainty is, should I even bother to continue with my photography and blog?
I’m thinking and experimenting to determine the bounds of using the Fuji X-Pro3 with the 35 and 50mm F2 lenses for environmental photography. I really need to go out and about and photograph different things to determine the true limit of using this camera and lenses to make similar monochrome images with a prime lens, but while I feel like staying inside I’ll keep trying and wondering.
It’s cold out.
It’s raining out.
It’s dark out.
Don’t you dare.
The so called holidays are over. Time to put away the few decorations we had. It is also time to set up any new files and folders I need for this year; but, this is the first year in a long time that I haven’t had to move all of my images from my computer to external storage in order to make room for more.
Last year I had to buy a new MacBook so I bought one with twice the storage. Having so much storage and a year when I didn’t make many images means that I have plenty of room on my computer to keep all that I did last year; but not because I’ll be wanting to look back at last year’s work. I should probably just trash the little I did last year.